We have read this before in the newspapers. We heard it from other people. Its a subject of taboo that we do not want to talk about... suicide. There are many reasons that leads to such a choice and its commonly known and read how suicides among teens do happened, of their own private reasons. I had read one such book before reading All the Bright Places, which to me... I wonder then when I first bought it few years back many readers gave good ratings. Of course, not every one gave it that high... and I am one of them.
I had issues with this book from the beginning. I had a few more some where in the middle. It was not until I am reading towards the end, I realize this is a story not about Theodore Finch - its about Violet Markey and how they met that one change another's life forever. How Violet copes with lost, and how Finch manage to help her with it. Still, there is some thing I did not like from the beginning. It was superficial, it wasn't realistic and it tries hard to make a realization of the main theme. I had mixed feelings as I read and towards the middle, I never care about the characters any more. I just do not know what I should really care about as I go along. It was until the 3rd act that I had guessed where its headed and how this heading feels... too thin. Every thing is just surface. There's nothing deeper to it and that gave me a reason to push forward to end my reading quick.
I can't say its horrible at all, as its not really that bad too. On the one hand, its pretty much straight path. Although trying to keep me guessing (even for other readers), the closure for this was bittersweet. What spoils it was the beginning and middle. I do understand what Jennifer Niven is pointing out and on her notes, its through her experience. Still, it suffers a lot in some ways I just felt what's holding my reading was if I bother to finish it and I did.
Overall - I felt a 3.5 out of 5 is a given. It would have been better if the characters are explored and the reasons are properly executed or laid out. What suffers it is what I said from above.